Category Archives: The Netherlands

Friesland

In the far north of the Netherlands you find the province of Friesland and their capital Leeuwaarden.

Friesland wasn’t always a part of the Netherlands and they have their own flag and their own language.

Both because of the age of the place and because of the two languages many things have two names.

You will see many T-shirts with ‘hup Holland hup’, – not so in Friesland. They are firmly behind their national team but Holland is only 2 of the 12 provinces and they are most definitely not Hollanders.

No here you wil find ‘Oranje bobbe!’ no one with any sense will even attempt to sell a Holland T-shirt here. The royal House of Orange has their unstinting support (or the united nation that they represent for non-royalists). Strange actually in modern times.

Although the Scots are singing the same song, don’t touch their Queen, but they are not English and never have been. The truth after all.

Friesland is probably best known for the cows, world champion milk producers and their horses, perhaps the horses with the longest manes 😉

Today you see mostly sheep in Friesland, the cows are in Holland and the rest of the world. It is not a rich region and it is possible that there are more Fries people outside Friesland than inside as well. Many many people emigrated from Friesland to the new world, the Americas, Canada, Australia and South Africa. Once again reminds us of Scotland..

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To my mind Leeuwaarden has a northern-slick aspect, they managed to integrate the cutting edge modern with the old architecture.

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Although the two nations don’t have a lot of time for each other it looks like the Dutch are still alowed to moor in Friesland 😉 Believe me if she was Fries she would fly the Friesian flag.

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The rest of the province (like most of Europe) is very rural and they boast some of the best agricultural land in the world.

In the 19th century people didn’t sit around apparently.

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And green energy has always been high on the agenda.

The type of wind turbine has changed over the centuries, but the principle is the same. The wind blows for free and works quite well for ships as well..

And when traffic became a problem in the 60’s and the Arabs got funny about oil in the 70’s it was a done deal. Everyone has to have a bicycle or two apart from the car. Go green in the face if you must but pedal yourself there. Being dependant on others can only lead to grief.

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The battle against the sea is as old as mankind in Friesland. Those wooden sluices may be unassumming but they are automatic. If the water level rises, they close. And after all if Friesland does not stop the water the Dutch countryside is under water. These guys are only a few kilometers from the North Sea.

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But together with the problems the water also gives the country charm and beauty. With the myriad water ways and huge inland lakes as long as you have a boat and know how to raise a sail Friesland is your friend. In summer off course, in winter you had better put your boat away safely until next year.